Photo Friday: Cake Bake!

(Thanks Jane!)

Also, of note: my army of minons has grown exponentially over the past 2 days since my last blog post. Here is what my cube looked like today:

Win.

Just another maniac Wednesday

Good afternoon and happy Wednesday!

I’d like to introduce you to my cubemate for the day:

His name is Tito the space monkey and he is awesome. Apparently Oprah is keeping a close eye on him, making sure that he doesn’t get up to mischief.

Obviously, I don’t have too much to talk about today. I’ve decided that it may be in my best interest to put my cooking aspirations on hold until after I return from vacation since if I go shopping now, all of my food will just go bad. Have I mentioned that I’m going to Hawaii next week? Well, I am. For a whole week. And I am CRAZY EXCITED.

But before that happens, I have baking to do! My best friend/c0-worker/partner in crime/ninja, Sarah, and I have entered into our company’s cake bake competition. The theme: any Discovery show. While I can’t disclose which show we’ve chosen for our masterpiece, I can assure you that it will be epic. Now, I wouldn’t classify myself as a baker – and I’m definitely no Duff Goldman – BUT I can bake up a pretty mean cake. The decorating could be where this gets interesting.

In my head I have this cake coming out looking something like this:

(Photo credz)

Although the last time Sarah and I attempted to bake a cake together it came out like this:

This could get messy.

26 miles later…

I’ve always been unconventional. This includes my running philosophy.

I suppose you could say that my running career started early. My sister was the star runner in my family, winning the Turkey Trot (our elementary school 1 mile race) when she was in the 5th grade. By the time my 5th grade year rolled around, she was determined to make me her protege. All I remember is that I whined, complained, and she literally had to push me across the finish line. I placed 11th in that race, which made me angry because the first 10 got a special award. I just missed it and in 5th grade special awards were thebomb.com!

After that, I poured a little more time and effort into training. I joined my middle school track and cross country teams and ran my fastest mile ever: 6:41! But I fell off the wagon once I got to high school. I focused more on organized sports (ie. soccer and basketball) because of the team atmosphere. It was an easy way to make friends, something I needed due to the fact that my family moved multiple times.

But soon enough, college struck. As did those dreaded Freshman 15. By a lucky happenstance (or perhaps some kind of subconscious decision), I had registered for a general health class (GHLTH 101 what up!) my first semester which required that I log a certain number of gym hours per semester. I made a plan for myself and dedicated an hour, three times a week to go to the gym. Instead of wasting that hour of my life drinking smoothies and sitting in the atrium, I decided to try my hand at running. I headed up to the indoor track, which appeared to be the least crowded part of our newly opened gym and started out by running a mile. Eventually, running just one didn’t seem like enough, so I upped it to two.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

By the time my senior year rolled around, I couldn’t run less than 5 miles without feeling like a lazybones. Luckily, around the same time, my former roommate Rachel decided to get serious about training as well. Knowing about my running prowess, she asked me if I would sign up for a half marathon. I ran the Virginia Beach Rock ‘N Roll half marathon on one of the most humid days of summer. I was disgustingly sweaty and incredibly tired, but I was IMMEDIATELY hooked. I loved the atmosphere of races, the community of runners surrounding you, and that feeling of accomplishment while crossing that finish line. Plus, all the free SWAG didn’t hurt either!

Most recently, even half marathons aren’t cutting it. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even feel the need to train for the half anymore which is one of my main motivators for signing up in the first place. I completed my first full marathon in January 2011, and I have more planned for the future. I’ve signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon at the end of November and judging from the pain in my calves, I am definitely in the full swing of training.

But seriously, don’t ask me for running advice. I don’t have any. In fact, there is no real method to my madness. I know so many runners are hyper aware of time and pacing. Not me. I’ve never, ever timed myself. In fact, the first time I was actually timed was when I didn’t have a choice during my first half marathon. I finished in 1:57 and ahead of 92% of women runners. I suppose that’s around the time I realized, “Hey, I might actually be kind of good at this whole running thing!” Still, to this day, I don’t time my runs. At the risk of sounding like a total hippy, I just do what feels right. If I’m tired, I slow down; if I’m feeling great, I go a little faster. For me, timing my runs takes out the fun. I don’t really have a rhyme or reason (and I’m not even really sure why), but I could literally just run all day. I know my style is not “typical”, but it’s what works for me.

But I don’t love running all the time. And running is not my passion; it’s just something I do. Kind of like brushing my teeth. If I don’t do it, I feel disgusting and lethargic. So it’s something I do a lot. It’s not always easy, somedays it’s hard to get off the couch and hit the pavement. The mental challenge is half the battle, but it’s what keeps me motivated!

The life and times of a picky eater

Let’s talk about food.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m an extremely picky eater. For the most part, people don’t believe me when I try to explain just how picky I really am. To give some perspective, here’s a selection of foods that I have been eating for 2 years or less:

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Crab
  • Hamburgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • Granola
  • Strawberries

You may be asking yourself, but what the heck did you eat?! Well, that’s easy: PIZZA! And lots of it!

Pizza and I go way back. I’m pretty sure at one time it was, besides potato chips, the only thing I really ate. Sometimes I think that my good-old momma must have eaten an abundance of the cheesy, saucy, greasy, goodness when I was in the womb and that’s where my affinity comes from, but I can neither confirm nor deny this. What I do know is that I seriously LOVE pizza. Preferably any kind with a cheese-pepperoni-bacon overload, but I’m actually not that picky…if you can even believe that.

Every holiday for as long as I can remember, I’ve eaten pizza. My family always cooks a super elaborate turkey or ham meal with all of the sides and fixings. About 20 minutes before meal time we make sure that there is room in the oven for my Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter pizza! One holiday, we forgot to put the pizza in the oven, and instead of toughing it out and eating “real food” like the rest of the fam, I waited an hour and ate all by myself. This is serious.

Yes, that’s a picture from last year’s actual Thanksgiving meal. Sorry for the quality, it was a quick snap with the iPhone.

I will let you in on a secret that I’ve tried to keep under-wraps: it’s not that I don’t like a wide variety of foods, it’s that I’ve never even tried them.

Recently I’ve been asking myself WHY I am doing this? I have to get special order chicken tenders made at weddings (embarrassing), I order off the kids menu at dinner with people I barely know (also embarrassing), and I am creating a huge inconvenience for so many of my friends and family (embarrassment strike three, and WE’RE OUT)!

So, I’m saying out with the old and in with the new! Over the past 2 years or so, I’ve already made great strides in expanding my palette. I now eat everything on that list of foods I mentioned above. This may not seem like much, but coming from the girl who only tried rice for the first time 3 months ago, it’s HUGE! I’m on a roll and I want to keep going. Over the next few months (and hopefully years) I want to stray away from the kiddy menu and into adulthood. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m ready to stop being picky. I’m done being embarrassed by my palette.

That being said, what exactly is my plan of action?

  • Step 1- Learn what I like: How can I possibly know if I like something if I’ve never tried it? I want to try as many new foods as I can!
  • Step 2- Learn to make it: Here’s another dirty secret of mine – I’ve never cooked a meal. Not one. No, not even a measly grilled cheese. Nothing. It’s time to learn.
  • Step 3- Make it healthy: I’ve done a fair share of research on this already and I know what’s healthy and what isn’t. Up to this point I just haven’t really cared. But alas, my body is finally starting to realize that it isn’t 21 anymore. Eating carbohydrates all day-everyday just isn’t going to cut it. I’d like to start introducing fresh food into my life. And vegetables *shudder*.
  • Step 4- Make it last: This can’t be a temporary change. It has to be a life one. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I’m going to do this.

So, here’s to change: as new, exciting, humorous, and SCARY as it may be!

n00b alert!!

1st post coming soon 🙂